Updated: Sep 9, 2021
"How do you get two kids to sleep in one hotel room? Woof!"
I love this question! Probably because it took us some time to figure this one out ourselves. My goal with this is to make bedtime feel a little more like home. If your kids don't normally share a room (or a bed!), it can be distracting and uncomfortable to have someone else present when falling asleep, on vacation. Here are big strategies that help make bedtime feel a little bit more like home.
Toddler/Preschooler Vacation Sleep Tip # 1
Separate the kids
You can separate them into separate beds just to fall asleep at bedtime and transfer them to the same bed once everyone is asleep. Or you can bunk up 1 adult with each kid and keep them separate for the entire night.
How to choose? If the kids just distract, bother, wind each other up at bedtime but are fine sleeping together throughout the night, I'd move them into the same bed once they are asleep. But if you have kids who move around a lot, kick each other in the middle of the night, unfortunately it may be better for you to suffer so your other kid can get a good nights sleep.
Toddler/Preschooler Vacation Sleep Tip # 2
Lay down with the kids
It is okay to remain present and lay down with your kiddos as they fall asleep on vacation, even if they fall asleep independently at home. This helps keep everyone focused on falling asleep and you can also act as a coach, offering a calming "shh" for any kiddo who is talking/fussing at/distracting their sibling.
Just be sure to get back on track with how you usually put your kids to sleep at home on night 1 back at home... meaning... don't fall into the trap of laying with your kids when you get back home. If the kids ask, you can answer "we all had to sleep in the same room on vacation, now that we are back home and we each have our own room and own bed, we are all going to fall asleep and separately since this is how we get our best sleep"
Toddler/Preschooler Vacation Sleep Tip # 3️
Put one kid to sleep at a time
Put the kiddo who falls asleep fastest to sleep first. Parent #1 puts kiddo #1 to sleep. Parent # 2 takes kiddo #2 on a special nighttime walk, or to the lobby to read books or do a quiet (non screen) activity. This is a great opportunity for kiddo # 2 to get some quality time with parent #2 and create some special vacation memories. Once kiddo #1 is asleep, kiddo #2 can come into the room quietly and fall asleep without his or her sibling awake to distract.
Toddler/Preschooler Vacation Sleep Tip # 4️
For older kiddos (3+ years old), incentives can be golden. Have the kids work together to earn their reward. It can be a daily incentive or a reward after a few days. They must both fall asleep calmly and quietly without distracting, bothering, winding each other up. It is fun for the reward to be something special that you can only do on vacation. But it must be something you are willing to forgo if they do not earn their reward. So don't make the reward going to the water park the next day if you are definitely going to the water park. Maybe something like, they can get dip n dots at the water park or go mini golfing at the super cool mini golf place when you are done with the water park.
Katie Ramirez, RN, BSN, CLC
Born Happy, Owner and Coach
Katie Ramirez is a Registered Nurse, Certified Lactation Counselor, and Coach for parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. She has spent more than a decade serving patients at major university hospitals such as Vanderbilt University and Penn State University Medical Centers. Katie now spends her time supporting and empowering parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers as founder and coach for Born Happy.
Katie is the proud mother of two beautiful children, Roberto (age 7), and Veronica (age 5). She has a passion for health, wellness, and happy children, and believes that, with the necessary knowledge and support, all parents can live happy.
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